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The Dante Chamber

by Matthew Pearl

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
16611144,135 (3.39)2
"The year is 1870. Five years after a series of Dante-inspired killings disrupted Boston, a man is found murdered in the public gardens of London with an enormous stone around his neck etched with a verse from the Divine Comedy. When more mysterious murders erupt across the city, all in the style of the punishments Dante memorialized in Purgatory, poet Christina Rossetti fears her brother, the Dante-obsessed artist and writer Gabriel Rossetti, will be the next victim. Christina enlists poets Robert Browning and Alfred Tennyson, and famous scholar Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, to assist in deciphering the literary clues. Together these unlikely investigators rush to unravel the secrets of Dante's verses in order to find Gabriel and stop the killings. Racing between the shimmering mansions of the elite and the dark corners of London's underworld, they descend further and further into the mystery. But when the true inspiration behind the gruesome murders is finally revealed, Christina realizes that the perpetrator has even bigger and more horrific plans than she had initially thought"--… (more)
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If after reading The Dante Club you hadn't got your fill then this is the book for you. In this book's Afterword Matthew Pearl explains how when he finished The Dante Club he had more Dante to explore. So he's moved the geographic location to London, imported Dr. Holmes and added several well known poets of the time who were interested in Dante. He could have easily just called this Volume II, or The Dante Club comes to the rescue. Unfortunately it has a very derivative feel. I personally was more troubled by the gore he wanted to explore excessively and repeatedly. To make matters worse he leaves us without the bad guys really getting punished. We want and expect accountability but it's not here. Hopefully he's ready to move on. Pearl is too good a writer to leave us wallowing. ( )
  Ed_Schneider | Oct 25, 2022 |
It's been several years since I read THE DANTE CLUB, but I still remember how engrossed I was with the book, even though the details of the book is a bit hazy. Nevertheless, reading THE DANTE CHAMBER brought some memories back of what happened in THE DANTE CLUB.

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Jul 23, 2022 |
It's been several years since I read THE DANTE CLUB, but I still remember how engrossed I was with the book, even though the details of the book is a bit hazy. Nevertheless, reading THE DANTE CHAMBER brought some memories back of what happened in THE DANTE CLUB.

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Jul 23, 2022 |
The Dante Club crosses the Pond in this followup, featuring the Dante Gabriel and Christina Rossetti, Robert Browning, Lord Tennyson, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Unfortunately this one fails to capture the lightning-in-a-bottle creepiness of its predecessor, but that doesn't make it any less a ripping good yarn. ( )
  JBD1 | Oct 25, 2020 |
‘’A poet never sees ghosts.’’

London, 1869. The metropolis is buzzing in its heyday. The glamorous Victorian court, the elegant literary circles, the world that changes. And right there, visible to all, yet unacknowledged by the elite, stands the underbelly. The polluted, dirty, dangerous city corners, the people in the margin, the ones who dwell in darkness because what choice do they have, really? Murders that seem inspired by Dante’s Purgatory start taking place and Dante Gabriel Rossetti vanishes. Christina Rossetti, Robert Browning and Alfred Tennyson try to follow the leads and discover the answers, fighting their own demons along the way.

Matthew Pearl creates a literary mystery set in the most suitable city for a story like this one. London with its grey corners and great inequality. London with its cultural scene and the ghosts of the past. Dante’s The Divine Comedy is cleverly used as a mysterious and dubious vehicle for the development of the story. Christina Rossetti’s character is the driving force of the novel, her intellect and determination exert the proper magnetism to sustain the readers’ interest.

However, the novel suffers from its own ambition, in my opinion. I felt that Browning and Tennyson were depicted in an almost pretentious way and Gabriel Rossetti was a rather colourless character. Although the chapters aren’t especially long, at times I had the feeling that the writer was beating around the bush and the writing felt purposeless whereas the closure seemed rather convenient and, frankly, unoriginal. On the bright side, the depiction of the setting and the dialogue were quite satisfying.

So, an interesting novel that has numerous exciting and elegant moments to offer but in the end, I wouldn’t call it ‘’memorable.’’ Just one more historical novel which we have seen by the dozen of late.

‘’Life is a coin that I once shared, but which has now quite passed from my pocket into another’s doubtless rightful enough. Only I desire no half farthing of its small change.’’

My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.wordpress.com/ ( )
  AmaliaGavea | Oct 3, 2020 |
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"The year is 1870. Five years after a series of Dante-inspired killings disrupted Boston, a man is found murdered in the public gardens of London with an enormous stone around his neck etched with a verse from the Divine Comedy. When more mysterious murders erupt across the city, all in the style of the punishments Dante memorialized in Purgatory, poet Christina Rossetti fears her brother, the Dante-obsessed artist and writer Gabriel Rossetti, will be the next victim. Christina enlists poets Robert Browning and Alfred Tennyson, and famous scholar Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, to assist in deciphering the literary clues. Together these unlikely investigators rush to unravel the secrets of Dante's verses in order to find Gabriel and stop the killings. Racing between the shimmering mansions of the elite and the dark corners of London's underworld, they descend further and further into the mystery. But when the true inspiration behind the gruesome murders is finally revealed, Christina realizes that the perpetrator has even bigger and more horrific plans than she had initially thought"--

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Matthew Pearl is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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Matthew Pearl chatted with LibraryThing members from Oct 5, 2009 to Oct 16, 2009. Read the chat.

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